Gunter Grass, Red Flags and Anti-Semitism (FrontPageMagazine.com) By Daniel Greenfield 04/13/12)
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A few days after September 11, I saw a quote from Gunter Grass on a
Manhattan lamppost. In those dark days, the lampposts and walls that
weren’t covered in missing persons posters were decorated with the
hysterical pamphleteering of the left urging us to blame ourselves
for the attacks. The quote has long since been lost to memory, buried
under smoke and ash, a green parrot perched on an empty staircase and
crowds thronging on foot across the bridge.
The quote itself, like the latest Grassian screed, does not matter.
Grass, like Gandhi and King, was one of the favorite go-to guys for
the left’s sticky sheets of paper. When you want to write a suicide
note, then you reach for a line from Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson,
but when you want to write a national or civilizational suicide note,
there’s always Gunter Grass.
As a writer, Gunter Grass is a blacksmith, hammering together
graceless and shapeless lumps that aren’t good for much except
hitting people over the head. Take his latest masterpiece which has
for a brief shining moment gotten people outside Germany and Sweden
to mention his name in conversation. You don’t have to know German to
recognize that, “Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag der
das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte” is not exactly Die Lorelei. In
a fitting irony the author of the Tin Drum has a tin ear.
Like Die Lorelei’s protagonist, Gunter Grass writes about being
filled with unnamable emotions, but instead of seeing water nymphs
combing their hair while ship captains ram their boats into the
rocks, Grass is attempting to impress audiences with his bold
struggle against Jewish accusations of bigotry to forewarn us about
the threat of the Jewish state.
Grass, like so much of the German left, sees Nazis everywhere but in
the mirror. The only lesson that he and his comrades have drawn is
that they were wrong to march right, when they should have marched
left. It does not occur to them that they should not have been
marching at all and that the marching under red banners was the whole
problem to begin with.
On the thirty-first anniversary of Kristallnacht, the progressives of
the German terrorist left plotted to bomb a Berlin synagogue where a
Kristallnacht commemoration was taking place. They didn’t succeed,
but their colleagues on Air France Flight 139 did, staging their own
Aktzion, separating the Israelis from the non-Israelis and deciding
who would go left or right.
Bose, the leader of the German Entebbe hijackers, who had told the
hostages that he was not a Nazi, just an idealist, had proposed
assassinating Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. That plot, like bombing a
synagogue’s Kristallnacht commemoration, seemed more like it might be
up a Nazi’s alley. Another symptom of how the German left could not
help goosestepping right.
The answer to the unspoken thing that Gunter Grass dares not speak of
may lie in a letter from the leader of another German leftist
terrorist cell, Dieter Kunzelmann, who while sipping coffee with
Muslim terrorists in Jordan, wrote home that, “The German left must
overcome its Judenknacks” or hangups about Jews. By this little
Dieter did not mean that the German left should stop hating Jews, he
meant that it should learn to feel good about hating Jews.
Bombing the synagogue on Kristallnacht would help Germany get rid of
its “Vorherrschaft des Judenkomplexes“, he wrote, which means
something like the Supremacy of the Jewish Neurosis, Bombing a
synagogue would help Germans break through their feelings of guilt
and emancipate the German left from feeling any hesitation about
killing Jews. The provocateurs of the left who had dedicated
themselves to the war against bourgeois hangups about orgies and
communal property would help break one more wrongheaded bourgeois
taboo. Much like an icon of the German left confessing to having
served in the SS and writing a poem that features him working out his
own “Judenknacks” right on the page.
Gunter Grass is more of a moderate than Dieter Kunzelmann. Rather
than tackling the Judenknacks head on by bombing a synagogue on
Kristallnacht or shooting Simon Wiesenthal in the head, he takes the
hack’s route by treading the well worn ground of spinning the wheel
of history until the Jews become the new Nazis. They have uniforms
don’t they, and an army and bombs. Such an observation wouldn’t have
been all that novel in the seventies, for Grass to pretend that his
whispered take on it is something daring and shocking brands him as a
true hack.You do not come away from “Was Gesagt Werden Muss” having
learned anything more about Israel or Iran than you did going in, but
you learn something about what a fine fellow that Gunter Grass is,
why he dares to say what no one else dares to say as he reclines on
his own therapist’s couch and achieves a breakthrough in tackling the
Vorherrschaft des Judenkomplexes that plagues the left.
Mein Kampf wasn’t about the Jews or England and France, it was about
what a great man that Adolf is and why you should consider him for
dictator for life. The European left’s Anti-American and Anti-Semitic
hiccups have little to do with the red, white and blue or the blue
and white. They have to do with how impressive all the speakers are
in taking on the Great Satan and the Little Satan. Down with General
Electric, down with the A-Bomb, down with the Synagogue. Up with
whoever is shouting through a megaphone about boycotting Israeli
walnuts or American rockets.
The current shouter through the megaphone isn’t just Grass, it’s
Sigmar Gabriel, the head of Germany’ Social Democratic Party, a party
that Grass has more than a passing affinity for. The elections
scheduled for next year will determine a great deal and the attacks
on the sale of submarines to Israel are aimed at Chancellor Merkel.
Attacking Merkel for pandering to the Jews is a bit of 1930′s
politics, but that’s just part of getting over the Judenknacks.
It’s not about the left being Anti-Semitic, it’s about it being
socially acceptable for the left to be Anti-Semitic. And it’s about
the “courage” of leftists who dare to take on the bourgeois post-
Holocaust hangups and switch them around so that the Jews become the
Nazis, the Nazis become the Jews and the Mullahs become the Uberjews.
The Jews are irrelevant except as a means for the left to rid itself
of all rules and morals on the path to total revolutionary commitment.
“Raise high the red flags,” the Battle Hymn of National Socialism
went, “For German labor we will clear the path to freedom.” Those red
flags have not changed much since. The Blutfahne, the blood flag
covered supposedly in the vital fluids of dead Nazis killed during
the Beer Hall Putsch under which Nazis swore in new recruits. Or the
red flag of Soviet Union memorializing the blood of the martyrs of
revolution. Or the red tulips of the Iranian flag which represent the
blood of martyrs.
They are cheering Gunter in Berlin, in Moscow and Tehran, not to
mention London, Paris and Boston. Not because he has said anything
terribly daring, but because he has thrown a stone at a window. And
it isn’t the size of the stone, it’s the breaking of taboos. And when
enough taboos have been broken, then the red flags will freely wave
again. (Copyright © 2012 FrontPageMagazine.com 04/13/12)
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